Register and vocabulary

This lesson invites students to explore the differences and similarities between vocabulary pairs like make and produce, take and transfer, and give and provide.

Goals

Lesson Plan

The Activity page can be found in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right corner of this page. The Activity page contains slides for display on a projector or smart board. Each slide presents two versions of a sentence from our corpus - one of the versions is exactly as it was spoken or written in real life, and one of the versions has been altered by one word. 

Invite your students to look at the slides and do the following:

Your students should see that the single changed word can make a significant difference - one version may seem more formal or informal, or more natural or unnatural. The difference is between the words make, take, and give and their apparent synonyms produce, transfer/transport, and provide. Although the meanings may be similar, the uses can be quite different.

After the students have identified the changed words, ask them to describe and group each word using the final slide in the Activity page. They might come up with something like the following:

How is it that these near-synonyms can be so different? Make, take, and give have Germanic etymology - they come from Old English. Produce, transfer, transport, and provide have Romance etymology - they've entered English from Latin or French. Latin and French were once the primary languages of learning in Europe, and even today, words with Romance roots still carry an air of learning. They tend to be used in the sciences, or in formal writing. Words with Germanic roots still carry a colloquial air or an everyday, informal air. 

Now ask students the following questions:

Further Work

Ask students to find other words that have the same meaning, but which are used in different registers. Try the following:

 

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Register and vocabulary: Activity

It's very difficult to produce any form of art unless you are driven.
It's very difficult to make any form of art unless you are driven.

The way oceans take heat from the equator to the poles is different for two reasons.
The way oceans transfer heat from the equator to the poles is different for two reasons.

This bank should provide the stimulus for private investment in Eastern Europe.
This bank should give the stimulus for private investment in Eastern Europe.

Do they still make half sizes?
Do they still produce half sizes?

If you were a castaway on a desert island, which eight books would you take with you?
If you were a castaway on a desert island, which eight books would you transport with you?

I can't actually take you back to the station.
I can't actually transport you back to the station.

I was wondering if you'd give another prescription for it.
I was wondering if you'd provide another prescription for it.

make
take
give
produce
transport
transfer
provide

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